Hillsborough Community College is closely monitoring the ongoing developments of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We remain in contact with Florida Department of Health officials to ensure that we are making decisions that are in the best interest of our students, faculty and staff. For the most current and reliable information about the coronavirus, please see COVID-19 Public Health Notices.
Hillsborough County Update
- June 29: A majority of the members of the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group voted today to extend their executive order regarding face coverings—with a few amendments—for at least another week.
- June 25: Hillsborough County residents can now make appointments online for free COVID-19 coronavirus testing. Online appointments can be made at Hillsborough COVID-19 Testing. Residents can pick a day and time convenient to them at one of seven locations throughout the county. Though the tests are free, appointments are required. A doctor’s referral is not needed, and insurance is not required.
- April 29: Hillsborough County is now accepting online applications for Rapid Response Recovery Program (R3) funds to assist in paying utility bills, rent and even mortgage payments. For information about how to apply for recovery funds, please see Hillsborough County Online Recovery Funds.
Latest College Update
July 2: Update to the Community
I want to provide the college with an update on our return-to-campus planning. We all have been watching the alarming increase in cases both in our region and across the state. It is particularly concerning that the most affected populations are those that would make up a large percentage of our students. I want to again emphasize that we will do everything we can to ensure your safety and that of our students and will not act in haste in the face of this compelling information.
Regardless of any announced dates, we have finalized as much of the planning that has been possible given the current set of conditions that we are operating under. Importantly, we have received direction from the Governor’s office that indicates his strong sentiment that we return to campus to start the fall semester. We have been working with local health officials in developing our protocols, and I believe that the current plan, which is clearly dynamic in nature, will provide us with a solid foundation to reopen safely.
Over the last few weeks, our campus teams have been working extraordinarily hard to develop operational protocols, make adjustments to the academic schedule, create physical distancing in our public spaces and classrooms, hang signage, and order PPE and hand sanitizers, in addition to countless other modifications necessary for a safe return to campus.
I encourage you to visit our SharePoint COVID site for the latest information on our reopening plans. One of the most recent additions is Hawk Tracing that establishes the process to follow when a student or staff member tests positive. This has been one of the most important additions to our planning, and I have attached it for your review. It was developed by medical, legal and public health professionals working along with our internal task force, and I hope that you will agree that it adds a critical element in our ability to maintain a safe teaching and work environment.
I want to thank all of the work teams for their Herculean efforts. They have and continue to spend numerous hours researching and developing the resources necessary for our Return to the Nest. I am grateful for their dedication as well as the dedication each of you have provided in these unprecedented and anxious times.
I will provide another update later next week as we monitor the outbreak closely. In the interim, I hope that everyone has a very safe and happy Fourth of July holiday.
Ken Atwater, Ph.D.